Keith Murray and Chris Cain’s band We Are Scientists has been making music for almost 15 years, and its members are now in their late 30s, but somehow the outfit continues to draw young crowds of new fans to their shows. It’s obvious why music lovers in their teens and twenties would gravitate towards WAS’s music, because Murray and Cain consistently write songs about excessive drinking, trying to tame one’s libido and hindsight being 20/20 when it comes to anything involving love or sex, as well as anyone else out there.
So with a group of high school girls pressed against the barricade and screamed the lyrics to every song Cain, Murray and current drummer Keith Carne threw at them, We Are Scientists rose to the occasion. Murray jumped around the stage with the energy of a 16-year-old playing his first big house party. The boys also joked around on stage with a boyish playfulness. When Cain complained about pulling a muscle after his back went out recently, Murray giggled, “You have to pull something out of somewhere.” Later in the evening Cain explained how glad he was that people were appropriately going crazy in the crowd and how, “If we were vampires we would feed on your groove bones.” When Cain had been talking about groove bones for a little too long, Murray decided to chirp in, pretending he thought Cain had been talking about a Groupon that whole time.
After We Are Scientists played, headliners the Rentals, aka former Weezer bassist Matthew Sharp’s pet project, took the stage. Although Rentals former keyboardist Maya Rudolph didn’t show up, it was a guest star-studded set. Maybe I should say a guest STRFKR-studded set, because this was Shawn Glassford of STRFKR’s first show playing bass for the Rentals. We Are Scientists’ Keith Murray and fellow opener Ozma’s Ryen Slegr comprised the guitar section while Jared Shavelson was on drums. Although Lauren Chipman and Nedelle Torrisi were playing strings and keyboard respectively and added some female vocals, the big guests were Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius who contributed the female vocals on the Rentals latest album.
When talking about Jess and Holly recording on the new album, Matt went into a five-minute long monologue about how there are some artists who make all other musicians disappear, the first of which was Robert Plant for him, and how when he first heard Lucius it was like that. There was no more Cure, no more Black Sabbath, no more Weezer, no more We Are Scientists, no more STFKR, no more Ozma, there was only Holly and Jess. That it was as if he was recording with Morrissey he was so starstruck when the girls came into the studio.
The best part of The Rentals set was the end of the band’s encore. Finally Matt Sharp started the group in on their first single, Friends Of P, but halfway through the song just the bassline and percussion continued to play as the crowd sang the chorus on repeat. Sharp smiled devilishly and said, “You think that’s the song we’re singing, and it’s a good guess, but you’re wrong.” Holly and Jess then began to lead the group in a cover of M’s Pop Muzik. Sharp then pulled the rug from under the crowd once more by going into a funk version of the Ghostbusters theme song. He, Holly and Jess ran into the crowd having everyone do the call and response then making the crowd crouch lower and lower with every “Who ya gonna call?” and sing quieter with every “Ghostbusters!” When the three vocalists finally got everyone on their feet again, Sharp began to convince everyone not to call the Ghostbusters, but call various members of the band, before finally going into the end of Friends Of P. They probably should’ve done the Friends theme while they were at it. It was that kind of show.
Photos by Annie Lesser.